The Big Ten is coming off a weekend to forget, seeing five schools lose – the most to date.
For a Saturday that began with Indiana trampling Bowling Green, 42-10, the conference wound up going just 7-5 with a few powerhouse programs on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
In a top-25 matchup, Nebraska watched a 21-3 lead go by the wayside as UCLA rout the Cornhuskers, 41-21. It was their second straight year losing to the Bruins. The Blackshirts were unable to contain UCLA, allowing 504 yards in what was a healthy balance between the run (210) and pass (294). In front of a record attendance at Memorial Stadium, Nebraska blew an 18-point lead, their biggest blown lead since 1996 according to STATS.
On the contrary, Penn State was never able to corral the lead over Central Florida, falling to the Knights, 34-31. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg played well and threw the ball efficiently (21-28), but it was the Nittany Lions’ defense that was unable to manufacture key stops when needed. Central Florida racked up over 500 yards as quarterback Blake Bortles threw for three touchdowns. It was the school’s first-ever win against a Big Ten opponent.
The third major program to go down this week was Wisconsin. Ranked No. 20, the Badgers actually deserved to win if not for arguably the strangest final play you’ll ever see this season. Setting up for a game-winning field goal with seconds remaining, quarterback Joel Stave went to kneel the ball before bumping into a lineman. Without actually touching the ground, Stave placed the ball down believing he kneeled and set up the field-goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Badgers, his knee didn’t touch; therefore, the loose ball was considered a fumble which was picked up by an Arizona State defender. The blunder cost them the game and sealed a 32-30 win for the Sun Devils.
Perhaps the biggest surprise entering Week 3 was Illinois, who was coming off back-to-back 40-point games and a 2-0 start. After a Heisman-like start, Nathan Scheelhaase came back down to Earth, struggling with a 9-25 passing efficiency and just 156 yards. The Illini suffered their first loss of the season to No. 19 Washington, 34-24.
Also taking a loss on Saturday was Purdue, who now falls to 0-3 on the year.
Those five teams will all hope to get back on the winning end of things in their next contest while teams like Michigan, who survived a scare in their 28-24 win over Akron, and Iowa, who just did enough to hold off Iowa State in the 27-21 win, will look to correct their mistakes and sure up their weaknesses moving forward.
*** Posted by Josh Harvey***